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Henna Your Hair - as told to me by an Arab woman

The Color of Henna

Henna red does not fade like traditional red hair dyes.

Henna red does not fade like traditional red hair dyes.

This is not an easy process...but it IS worth it.

This morning when I woke up I had a very large worn out blue batik scarf wrapped around my head ala Aunt Jemima. It’s not a good look for me. Underneath that politically incorrect icon of another age was something that dated even further back in time…a head full of henna mud. Henna was the hair coloring of choice for the ancient Egyptians and it’s still a viable option in third world countries where chemical hair dye is expensively prohibitive. It is a natural product derived from the dried leaves of the henna tree that grows in the semi-arid regions of the middle and Far East. Henna's coloring properties are due to lawsone, a burgundy organic compound that has an affinity for bonding with protein. If it’s not red it’s not henna…no matter what the box says. Actually, the dried leaves are green but they produce a red color.

I’ve been using this stuff since the 1980’s when I read an article about how Lucille Ball would bleach then henna her hair to get her distinctive color. In those days I liked to fancy that I WAS Lucy…in my vintage 1950’s clothing. I liked to believe that I, like Lucy, had somehow escaped the petty prettiness syndrome that makes attractive woman lack humor. I had no role models closer to home so I imported one from Jamestown, NY and 30 years later I still strive to be Lucy.

To get back to the henna…at first I would buy it in small plastic tubs and follow the instructions carefully. All available henna was from Egypt in those days. I would mix the henna with warm water with a wooden spoon in a plastic or glass container (the instructions said that metal activated it), apply it to the hair making sure to get down to the roots, wrap my head in tin foil, sit under the dryer for one hour, and let it sit two more hours before washing it out of my hair. I’m not sure if you have ever sat under a hairdryer with tinfoil on your head…I do not recommend this even to those of you who understand my mother's sentiment that you must suffer to be beautiful. It will burn any areas of skin it touches so it is basically trial and error around the ears and back of the neck until I figured out the tinfoil actually did nothing.

I would then wrap my head in plastic wrap as recommended on the package of some heat treatment deep conditioners like Kolesterol. My sister used Kolesterol when she turned herself into a giant yellow Brillo pad after bleaching and perming her hair on the same day…the day before her daughter’s wedding shower. Although Afros were still in vogue…it was NOT a good look for her. Anyway, the henna treatment with Saran Wrap worked pretty well on my young hair without gray and I practiced this technique for many years…into my gray period. The color was unique. A kind of fluorescent wine over chestnut that would often get sarcastic comments like, “yeah, THAT’S her real hair color…” by construction workers. To which I would retort, “yeah…THOSE are his real teeth…” I was never really shy. I was happy with the color. It was distinctive. I loved the idea of red hair because the look carried with it a certain license to behave badly. It explained my intermittent explosive temper, my outspoken personality, and my sometimes indiscriminant choice of men. It was expected that redheads be different…no matter that it wasn’t natural…it was definitely me.

One day in the 1990’s I met a woman from the Middle East…Palestine to be exact. She was newly married to a man that owned the hair salon in the Ellicott Square Building in Buffalo, NY. I had befriended her husband Sam because there was nowhere more interesting to take my breaks than his hair salon with the lawyers and politicians heatedly discussing issues of the day. Sam was a Cleveland Browns fan in a city drunk on The Buffalo Bills. He was also an outspoken proponent of the rights of Palestinians to their homeland…many of his clients were Jews. Sam wasn’t kicking the Jews out of Jerusalem, he as trying to carve out a dedicated spot for the Palestinians. This made for heated and interesting coffee breaks that saved me from the humdrum of my job as a public servant on an upper floor. Sam was short tempered, good-humored, cuttingly satirical, and an equal opportunity offender. People were dedicated to him…he only cut men’s hair but he was not a barber…he was a hairstylist…and don’t you forget it.

Sam was single after his divorce to an American woman with whom he had three sons. It was ugly but it was over and Sam wanted a new wife. He was open to anyone…but, on one fateful day while visiting a cousin, he watched a video of a wedding in Jordan and spotted Nafiza in the crowd. He asked his cousin who that beautiful woman was and if she was married. The cousin laughed and said, “She was your neighbor…Nafiza.” She was a child when Sam left for the US at 17. Nafiza was now 38 and had never married. This was an accomplishment in a Middle Eastern country where a woman’s worth is calculated by her marrigability. According to Nafiza…it was her choice. All her suitors were unacceptable for one reason…their mothers. Nafiza knew that by marrying she would hand over her life to her mother-in-law as all good Arab women do. She felt too independent…she worked and made her own money. She lived at home with her family where at least she knew what to expect. Nafiza remembered Sam. He was the one who went to America and was doing well. She learned of his interest and decided to accept his proposal after the preliminary meetings. The best part for Nafiza was…Sam’s mother was no longer on this plane. Nafiza moved to America without two words of English and no one but Sam to take the place of her tightly knit family. I was in awe of her courage.

This was quite a build up to my henna story but once my fingers get typing I have no control over them. The first time I actually met Nafiza, after seeing her photos and hearing about her from Sam for many months, I saw what Sam saw. A lovely doe eyed beauty but with a backbone of steel. She was a true life-partner for Sam. When I walked in Nafiza grabbed my hands…she had heard about me from Sam as well…looked over my hair and then looked me straight in the eye with a big smile, “Henna?” “Yes!” I said enthusiastically, feeling I had just achieved some sort of détente with this exotic Middle Eastern woman. “Bad job,” she then added in her very sparse English while shaking her head. She said something in Arabic to Sam. “She wants to henna your hair,” translated Sam. “She says you must be using Egyptian henna.” I laughed even though I was a little embarrassed I spotted myself in the salon mirror and the gray hairs all looked Lucille Ball orange. There were at least three different colors in stages down my long hair. I had known this for years when I put my hair up the ends did not match the means. I learned to live with it because, frankly, I was never that fussy. I agreed to the henna experiment.

That Friday I went down to the salon after work. They stayed open expressly for me and Nafiza took me into the private color room off the main style floor. She pulled out a jar of thick brownish liquid that did not even look the same color as my Egyptian henna I had been using. Nafiza knew a little English by now but mostly Sam translated. She told me that Egyptian henna is cut with spinach because it is cheaper. The best henna is from Jordan or Pakistan. She told me that good henna is glossy when you mix it with liquid and it has a bit of a slimy feel. She told me that in order to cover my gray and tone down the orange she added black walnut casings that she picked special off the lawn of the International Language Institute and boiled (an extremely messy job I’ve since found out) the night before. She also used the skins of onions and strong tea in the water to mix the henna…then a dose of olive oil…the ingredient used for everything in Middle Eastern beauty. I felt like a science experiment. I was waiting for her to pull out the eye of nuit. She lovingly covered my hair with the henna mud being extra careful around the hairline. She explained that for some reason, the skin at my hairline would not hold the henna like my hands would and that it would wash off in one day…she was right. She then took a hair dryer and dried the mud pack to a solid helmet. Next she wrapped a large cotton scarf around my head. I looked like a cancer victim with a head injury. Then came the big surprise. She told me to go home and go to sleep like this. I needed to keep this gunk on my head for 8-12 hours. The most I have ever kept it on was… in a crazy fit of rebellion… four hours just to see what would happen.

First my head was reeling from the weight of the mud. Next, I realized I had to go outside to the parking lot to retrieve my car and drive home looking like Hydrocephalus Barbie. Sam’s salon was on Main Street…people were still shuffling in and out of bars for happy hour…there were people in other cars driving home that would see me. Even with the fear of being seen, my biggest fear by far was waking up the next morning with a brilliant red baldhead. I had to trust her. She said that in her country, women get together every so often and assist in personal hygiene regimes…henna, threading, sugaring and nail care. I had to trust her. She seemed to know everything about this ancient ritual that I was doing wrong for 15 years.

The first time you try to sleep with a rag soaked henna head you may as well just turn on Turner Classics and give it up. You cover your pillow in a plastic garbage bag, you cover that with your oldest beach towel, and you hope for the best. I may have slept a few hours with dreams of explaining my baldness to my friends and family the next day. “It will grow back,” I’ll explain. Instead, I woke up the next day and washed out the henna. It seemed easier to rinse out the gunk because of the addition of olive oil…those Middle Eastern women know how to use a resource! I looked at my wet hair and was unsure of any improvement but when it dried I had a glorious head of brick red hair that looked expertly highlighted where the gray became a lighter shade but not an abrasive orange like the day before. I was thrilled! From then on, I didn’t care who saw me go into my car with my blue babushka over my swollen henna head! I wore it proudly because I knew that the ends would now match the means. Ever since that day I have been getting compliments on my hair color. I freely offer that I use henna but I also let them know that it’s an arduous process and not for the faint of heart.

I will share my recipe for successful henna hair dying. Please remember that you cannot use henna on hair with other chemical treatments. That means no permanent waive or straightening or other coloring agents. It will make your hair brittle and it will break off in clumps. First, get a hold of high quality henna. You can generally find it in Indian grocery stores… since it is almost impossible to get Jordanian henna in the US, look for Pakistan or India as countries of origin. Do NOT buy Egyptian henna. I was purchasing henna online at until I found a local Indian grocery store that had it in stock. Next, find a source for Powdered Black Walnut Hulls (Juglans nigra)…this is much easier than boiling black walnut hulls from nature which I do not recommend. I get mine from but have purchased it as a natural basket dye from other sources. Just a little goes a long way.

Once you have your henna and black walnut powder you are ready to begin. Dress in a tee shirt and comfortable pants that you don’t mind getting stained. I use the same tee shirt and pants for my monthly henna treatments. Before you get started, gather the following: rubber gloves that fit past your wrists, an old washcloth, a freestanding mirror, a large cotton scarf that you can dedicate to henna, an old beach towel and a large plastic garbage bag.

Take a small pot and put in three black tea bags, the papery skin of several onions (not the actual meat), and a tablespoon of instant coffee if you have it. Sometimes I’ll use a brewed coffee instead of water if I have it on hand. Bring this all to a boil and strain. Put henna (usually about 6-8 oz's…use the whole small box if that is how you get it) and a heaping tablespoon of black walnut powder in a large glass bowl. Gradually, pour in the dark water and use an old whisk that you will save for this process to make a mud the consistency of pancake batter. It can be thinner but becomes even messier when you try to apply. Add a tablespoon of olive oil (do not substitute any other oil…it is NOT the same). Once it is all mixed up I suggest applying it over a sink with a garbage disposal.

Lean over the sink and hang your hair directly over the drain with the bowl of henna in the sink. With your rubber glove on scoop up some henna and start applying at the back of your head and work your way forward concentrating on saturating your roots first then working into the ends. This takes some time as the henna solution is thick and not very wet and you’re working with dry hair. Be patient…massage it into your scalp paying special attention to your hairline if you have grays. Once you are sure your hair is totally saturated work it into a ponytail at the very top of your head…you are still over the sink with your head down…make a bun of sorts of your hair and check the mirror for loose henna bits on your face, neck and so forth. The henna will stain your skin but your face is not as susceptible as your other body skin. Carefully, smooth the henna up away from your face. You are making a mud pack of hair and once it is all off your face check the hairline in the mirror and make sure the grays (they are wiry and harder to cover) are caked in with henna. Take the washcloth and clean off your ears, neck and other areas where the henna has splashed. Be careful not to wipe it off the hairs at your hairline unless you like the graying temples look. You will also need to clean up any stray henna on surfaces, as it will also stain those. This is a messy job but the results are spectacular.

Once you have the henna in place you can use a blow dryer to make a helmet. If it is not dripping just keep it uncovered for a little while until it dries slightly. Once it is sort of like drying mud you can put on the scarf Aunt Jemima style like a turban. Fold the scarf in half to a triangle. Bend your head down and put the folded part of the triangle at your back hairline letting the front point hang down over your head. Take the two long ends at the sides and bring them up over the front point and tie with the point kind of hitting your forehead. Pick up your head take the front point and pull it up over the knot and knot again over the flap. Tuck the ends into the turban over your ears. You may want to practice this first before applying the henna. It is second nature to me now but as I’m writing it sounds confusing.

Cover your pillow with a plastic garbage bag. Use the old beach towel over the plastic because you don’t want to sleep directly on plastic. Get as comfortable as possible and try to sleep. In the morning go to the same sink with the garbage disposal. You’ll need the beach towel, the rubber gloves, shampoo, conditioner and a plastic prong hairbrush or a large tooth comb. Remove the scarf. Rinse out as much henna as possible with clear water with the gloves on. Take a large glob of shampoo and wash your hair over the sink with the gloves still on. Make sure you scrub your hairline because the henna will be dried in those spots and stick pretty fast. After you rinse out the soap take off the gloves and use a large amount of conditioner and comb or brush it through your hair. Rinse and use the beach towel to dry so you are not ruining another towel. Air or blow dry. You will notice your hair feels thicker…this is because the henna actually coats your hair it does not penetrate the hair shaft. Once you see how healthy your hair is you will not be tempted to go back to regular chemical dyes again. Your hair will look young and healthy and very shinny. Yes, it is a bloody mess to do but it is worth every minute of mess. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. I realize that because I’ve been doing this for so many years I may have missed a step or not been very clear in my description.

Good luck and let me know if you try it!


Hello, on July 24, 2020:

Thank you for this post. Do you have a video for this process? Sounds daunting. I have dark brown hair, and want to cover my grays. I do not use any chemicals because I don’t want my hair to look like dry hay.

fra on October 20, 2017:

Hi Paula! Do you apply henna immediatly after prepared or do you prepare henna some time before and let sit? Thank you!

LP on January 06, 2017:

If one continues to use henna repeatedly over time on medium brown hair will the result eventually be burgundy as the henna builds up?

Esther Tazarine on October 22, 2016:

I am glad I didn't use egyptian henna at all, since I first got into tazarine (better say amazigh-berber) henna and never left it. Not only it enhances my natural dark auburn but any people I stumble into, they stop looking at chemical bleached 'beauties' and gaze in awe at my red aura (lol)

Shirley David on September 16, 2016:

Very interesting....I read it twice. How is Sam and Nafiza now? Are u in touch?

Helena on April 02, 2016:

Wow! Thank you for the added knowledge of the walnut , etc... I've been doing Henna for like a year now, and yes, it is messy & time consuming, but nevertheless, its worth it! For anyone who considers doing this, know "its not for the faint of heart, lol", and I'm not implying sarcasm with that, only reiterating , it is truly a labor of love, that, when done properly, looks AWESOME !!! PS, when coloring gray hair, it does look like you paid lotz and slaved countless $$$ & time at the hair salon ( ssshhhh, FYI, keep it to yourself).... :)


Juliette on February 23, 2016:

I have also been using henna since the 80's and tweaking it slightly every time as I grey more. One thing I have not seen mentioned is to let the henna sit for 12 hours in a dark place before applying. Do you put yours on immediately? I usually do but I've never applied it immediately so I wondered if it changes anything?

Pru on July 16, 2015:

Hi! I use henna once in a month or two. It really works whether you want to stop your hair fall or you want to condition your hairs.. You can try out this stuff also in your henna like add egg, onion juice, tea-coffee water by boiling them in a pan and u sing them once they are cooled, lime, Indian gooseberry, yogurt, fenugreek, and not to forget adding olive oil. Your hairs will rock. Good Luck ladies.

Lia on February 17, 2015:

Scroll to Continue

Thank you so much for this interesting article.. I have dyed my hair with a conventional red hair dye, you write it is not recommended to use the henna on already chemical treated hair, do you think it is possible to treat the root growth with the henna and not the rest of the hair, or will that damage the hair too? I don't want to use a chemical dye for the rest of my life..

Planet-Paula (author) on November 25, 2014:

I have been using a Organic Henna Sahara Tazarine available at badiadesign dot com - it is the best quality henna I've ever used. I would not use regular color over henna and do not recommend that you use any other treatments if you do use henna. I am overwhelmed by the amount of readers this post has had.

vivi on July 31, 2014:

would it be red on a black hair? ive had bad experiences with henna. Usually the color doesn't change.. and my hair remains black and i when i use regular hair color it becomes uneven because ive used henna. Please3 reply

Planet-Paula (author) on July 16, 2014:

Hi, I want to thank those of you who gave tips on other additives and so forth. My article is based entirely on my own experience and the knowledge gained by my Palestinian friend. Henna will not lighten your hair since what it does is coat the hair folicle. The people I know who have tired henna over hair dye have had bad results but if it works for you it may be that hair dye has changed since the 70's when my friends had bad experiences. I have not used hair dye since 1976 so my experience with that is limited as well. I love henna and I had no idea there were so many of you out there who used it as well. Good luck to you all. I do not moderate this hub site very often but if you would like to contact me directly you can do so at - I check my email about once a week. Thanks for all your comments. This is the most read article I have ever written and it thrills me to think so many people have read my words.

Zara on July 13, 2014:

Hi, I have applied henna to my hair. In the mix of henna I added, essential oils (Argan, coconut, olive, castor and almond) and lemon juice and 1 egg and a a bit of yogurt. My hair feels really good after washing it out but somehow it never colours my hair. I have been doing this for many years and I would like my dark brown hair to lighten a bit so I can have fun with my hair. Any tips on how to lighten the colour?

Clar Esa on July 05, 2014:

I've been using henna for about 2years. I think an easier way to deepen the color of henna for gray coverage is to add indigo, amla or brahmi powder. Also you can use black tea mix instead of plain water. Lastly for more conditioning and less dry, mixing with aloe vera juice or powder, rose petal powder, evoo or a natural conditioner helps too

Tina on May 12, 2014:

Hi and great read... so you don't leave your henna to sit for dye release?

Joanna on April 02, 2014:

Also will it give my hair a hint of red? Because unfortunately reds in my hair do not go with my skin tone =(

Joanna on April 02, 2014:

Okay so what does henna do? Can it make your hair lighter? I tought henna made hair darker...

It sounds awesome to try this I'm always up for anything natural.

How can i make my hair lighter with henna?

My hair color is dark brown

This is awesome. =)

Araelia on April 01, 2014:

Very interesting post. I have been doing henna for a few years now with a chemical break. I regret it slightly because my hair was healthy and a beautiful dark red but I wanted to go light so there was no other choice. A lot of my friends have done henna over colour as have I and as long as it's pure henna there has never been a problem. I think the reaction is typical for 'fake henna' - the premixed blends which may have various metals added that can react to coloured hair. As to the oil, I have tried many and can't say I've seen a difference. I was taught to make an acidic mix, with lemon or vinegar to get more colour so I have never done it only with tea. I add coconut milk and any oil I have handy. I have added hibiscus powder in the past to get a stronger red for one of my friends. I have henna on as I write this xD and I have blow dried it for the first time after reading your post. It's pleasant xD We'll see if there's any colour difference. Best regards, A.

Anna on March 08, 2014:

Hello. Great post, thank you for the time and details! I am a little confused... you said in the post not to use on chemically treated hair, then in a comment its ok over hair color? I colored my hair with normal hair dye what I thought would be a nice copper red but turned out to be more primary... Im talking ronald mcdonald here! Is it ok to henna over this? Also my natural hair is dark blonde, and this red is fading pretty light... is there a way to ensure I get a deep dark red like your photo and not orange red?

thanks so much

joseph valenti on January 19, 2014:

You can also add indigo for people with more brunette needs, to the henna! You can mix the indigo with salt and warm water, and let it sit for 10 minutes, add it to the henna! You can also do a double henna process, after henna mix indigo with warm water and salt and put it on the hair from 1 to 3 hours, rinse out with a cheapie conditioner like Suave or VO 5 and don't shampoo for a couple of days!

Planet-Paula (author) on January 17, 2014:

My hair color is a medium brown but of course it has gotten dull over the years. Your hair ages too unfortunately

Planet-Paula (author) on January 17, 2014:

Hi Sun...the henna will color your hair as a coating it will not bleach it. I know that Lucille Ball used to bleach her hair first but I don't recommend that since it will make your hair brittle and unhealthy. The best henna I have ever found is available at I highly recommend it.

Planet-Paula (author) on January 17, 2014:

Hi Sun...the henna will color your hair as a coating it will not bleach it. I know that Lucille Ball used to bleach her hair first but I don't recommend that since it will make your hair brittle and unhealthy. The best henna I have ever found is available at I highly recommend it.

sun on December 23, 2013:


Nice read.

I am a dark haired woman.

Would like to get a strawberry henna color effect on my hair.

How to get to that color ?

Thank you.

Paula on August 12, 2013:

Hi, sorry it took so long to respond. I have not been on hubpages for awhile. For Maria C - My hair is brown. For Me - Thank you ;-) For Rose - leaving it on one hour is not long enough. You will only get a casting of what you will get over night.

Maria C on July 19, 2013:

Hello! I was wondering - what is your natural hair color? Not including the grays.

Me on April 10, 2013:

You are an excellent writer and I am trying this without the walnut and onion skin- i already have dark hair and just want the gloss/body that comes with henna. Thanks for the amusing and informative piece.

Rose on April 07, 2013:

quick question? I just recently started using henna. I only did the 1 hour recommended. Will it be brighter if I leave it on all night? Also, when your roots grow out, do you do root touch-ups or just do your whole head all over again? And on wet or dry hair? I heard it didn't matter.....but just thought I'd ask. Thank you!

Planet-Paula (author) on December 29, 2012:

I also swim in chlorine...the first week or so your hair will bleed so be prepared for that. The chlorine does have some affect but it's not horrible. The first week or so I don't get my hair in the water. I use a bathing cap or just pile it on top of my head and soak in a hot tub from the neck down. Best of luck to you Wendy.

Planet-Paula (author) on December 29, 2012:

Sorry...I was not on line for a long time due to some pain issues I'm having. I don't think that the henna will hurt your hair if you put it over dye. I am quite sure Lucille Ball used to bleach her hair before applying henna for her signature look. The henna will color each stand according to it's darkness or lightness so it kind of looks like streaking if you have grays or other light hairs. Good luck to you and once again, sorry for the delay. I will post this on my site as well to help other. Thank you so much for reading my piece. It means a lot to me.

wendy on December 19, 2012:

Hi, I plan to henna my hair before I start swimming in chlorinated swimming pools this summer. Will the chlorine affect my hennaed hair after its been hennaed?

Pritty Brains on September 21, 2012:

Hello? I know you're probably busy, but is there any chance my question can be answered soon? I'd like to henna my hair within this next week if possible. Thank you!

Pritty Brains on September 19, 2012:

P.S. By the way, loved your blog and your hair is absolutely gorgeous!

Pritty Brains on September 19, 2012:

I died my dark blonde hair a strawberry, red-ish blonde about a month ago, the color has faded significantly. I was wondering how long I need to wait until I can henna as I know color treated hair and henna don't work. Thank you.

Planet-Paula (author) on August 30, 2012:

The best place to get Henna is an Indian or Middle Eastern grocery store. You can look online...where do you live?

Magna on August 27, 2012:

Hello Paula... I'm brand new to this process and thought of henna-ing my hair. I'm really excited to try this but I'm not sure where to get my henna. I do have a co-op around here do you think would be a good place?



Planet-Paula (author) on August 24, 2012:

Ok, if you have found a product that doesn't react poorly with chemicals that is great. My experience has been different. Henna coats the hair and eventually, if you use it enough it will permeate it. I personally wouldn't take the chance again. Great information for the readers. Thank you.

Planet-Paula (author) on August 24, 2012:

Ok, if you have found a product that doesn't react poorly with chemicals that is great. My experience has been different. Henna coats the hair and eventually, if you use it enough it will permeate it. I personally wouldn't take the chance again. Great information for the readers. Thank you.

Toni Dill on August 12, 2012:

I have used the product from "Henna Hut" for a couple of years now. And this blog is full of it because you can perm you hair, it won't break using henna hut dye. It is body art quality. I just make sure not to dye my hair for a month or more, and use a mineral oil in my hair. It sort of strips the color but conditions your hair. You slop it on damp hair and let your hair dry then wash your hair a couple times. The perm will get rid of any other greasiness. My hair is wavy, auburn and lovely!

Planet-Paula (author) on July 15, 2012:

I would wait for a few weeks Amber...then henna is coating your hair folicle now....give it time to wash out a bit.

amber on July 14, 2012:

It sstill didn't take they way i was hoping :( my next. q is...can i put color on top of henna??? im looking for a copper color.

Planet-Paula (author) on July 14, 2012:

No...don't wash your hair's best if you have some hair oil. Cleopatra use to use it on her black works GREAT on any color and will look different depending on your hair color. Good's a messy process. Let me know how it works out.

Planet-Paula (author) on July 14, 2012:

The water is tricky...I find it works best when you have a thick pliable mud. If it's too wet it will run, too dry it will be hard to work into the roots. I always use more water than needed to make the tea and just add a little at a time until it's the right consistency. Think thick cake batter.

amber on July 12, 2012:

Should i wash my hair first?? will this work on dark brn hair???

amber on July 11, 2012:

Should i wash my hair first?? will this work on dark brn hair???

chorea on July 05, 2012:

I have all my stuff together and am ready to go.... I was wondering how much water you put in your pot to brew the tea, onions and coffee? I have used henna for years but am excited to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing Paula.

Planet-Paula (author) on June 21, 2012:

Hi...I use a hair dryer and try to get it like a shell on the surface. It is all hit and miss...sometimes it's too wet and it's a mess. I really appreciate your kind words. I only use a big cotton scarf. I used to use plastic wrap in the past but I just protect my pillow now with a plastic bag. It's not the best night's sleep but after awhile you get used to it. Always, Paula.

sulyn lam on June 08, 2012:

I am chinese-italian and have been henna-ing my hair on and off since I was a teenager, with pleasing subtle highlight and conditioning results. As I got older (now 56) my grays have taken on that unpleasant brassy orangey look and the colour takes less well around the hairline. I'm thrilled with the information about the black walnut hull powder and olive oil. Also delighted to hear the origins of your discovery and will think of your history-infused story whenever I henna my hair in future. Last night my 15 year old daughter hennaed my hair with the Lush product and I left it in overnight for the first time ever, which was a huge improvement but I left the henna wet before cling-filming. Why do you dry before covering?

estaeheli on May 24, 2012:

Thank you, Paula, for sharing. I have wondered how am I going to continue using henna since it takes soooo long to process. From now on I will just do it at bedtime and sleep on it! Problem solved. I really enjoyed your writing--and I will try all your ideas in the future.

Planet-Paula (author) on May 01, 2012:

The olive oil helps with the drying. You can also rub a bit of olive oil in your hair and scalp before going to bed if you notice drying. Just shampoo the next morning and the oil residue will be gone. Don't try this with any other oil except extra virgin olive...some oils do not wash out. Also, I always use good conditioner on my hair. The quality of the henna makes a difference as well.

Planet-Paula (author) on May 01, 2012:

Hi Christina...I use a lot to cover my hair, is for my fine shoulder length hair. The walnut powder makes the henna darker so it covers my gray better...if you have no gray you can skip it.

Nadya on April 02, 2012:

This is very interesting. Does this mixture help with drying effect that you can often get from henna? Also could you use this same process on dark hair?

Christina on March 10, 2012:

Thanks for sharing your knowledge! :)

One question though: is the walnut powder for making the colour darker or just more intense? I have brownish hair and I've been using Henna since 5 years now, and I always wanted my red not to become too dark..

I reckon the amounts you mentioned are for shoulder-length hair, judging from your profile pic?

Thanks again!

Planet-Paula (author) on February 16, 2012:

Look for a store that sells Indian spices...I have a cousin who is married to an Egyptian man and I will ask her if she knows of such a place. Sorry I have taken so long to respond. I don't have a computer these days. I hope all is well for you in Egypt with the changes that are taking place.

Neira on August 18, 2011:

But I actually live in Egypt ='((

Where am I supposed to get good henna?

Rocio Ramirez on May 12, 2011:

Hi, Thank you!!! I feel very close to the Middle Eastern culture and love the idea of coloring my hair naturally. You're wonderful for posting this long process. I loved reading the story before the henna process. Thank you for sharing :)

beauty-lasers on November 17, 2010:

My goodness, this is hard work! I use henna from Lush ( and, although it is messy, it isn't as bad as this and gives really good results.

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